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Activists Want Special Courts To Try Human Traffickers

Statistics from the National Task Force against human trafficking indicates that 674 cases of human trafficking have been reported to Police since 2016. Of these, only 59 cases have been convicted from the 176 cases taken to court.
School Children Sign Committment To End Human Trafficking in Kampala

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Anti-human trafficking campaigners are calling on government to set up special courts to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking in Uganda. 

   

They also want government to establish special protection mechanisms for trauma and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking as the vice increases in the country.         

Statistics from the National Task Force against human trafficking indicates that 674 cases of human trafficking have been reported to Police since 2016. Of these, only 59 cases have been convicted from the 176 cases taken to court.       

Commissioner of Police Moses Binoga, the National Coordinator of the Taskforce says there are many challenges affecting successful investigations and prosecution of suspected cases of human trafficking including the lack of dedicated specialized mechanisms for trying suspects.         

Lady Justice Margaret Mutonyi, the Mukono High Court Resident Judge says setting up a special court will ensure that victims access justice expeditiously to facilitate their healing from the trauma they suffered.         

//Cue in This special courts….       

Cue Out: “…. handle these victims”//         

Justice Mutonyi proposes that government should take over the entire process of labour externalization to prevent labour importers and exporters exploiting the system to engage in human trafficking and its associated evils.           

 //Cue in: “If the whole process…         

Cue Out: “….receiving country”//         

Damon Wamara, the Country Director of Dwelling Places, a charity organization says the Coalition of Uganda Civil Society Organizations against human trafficking has assisted 11,290 survivors of human trafficking since 2016.         

Wamara says the coalition spends an average of 3,500 US Dollars, approximately 13 Million shillings in rescuing and repatriating each victim of human trafficking from countries in the Middle East.       

Annette Kirabira, the Chairperson of the Civil Society Consortium against human trafficking says the country needs renewed vigilance against internal human trafficking and organ harvesting.       

 Kirabira says equal attention needs to be given to internal cases of human trafficking as it has been to foreign cases of human trafficking.       

“The consortium receives and helps people trafficked from all the regions of Uganda” she stated.         

Commissioner of Police Moses Binoga, the National Coordinator National task force against human trafficking says they are demanding reforms in the implementation of the 2009 anti-human trafficking act because efforts towards curbing cases of human trafficking have been minimal despite many government measures in place.         

 Binoga says they now want to establish mechanisms for implementation of treaties signed with labour recruiting agencies and countries to ensure that exported Ugandan labour are protected against human trafficking.           

He says government has already set up desks at the directorate of public prosecution as well as the Criminal Investigation Directorate to investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking.

     

Rachael Mugole, an assistant director of public prosecution says successful prosecution of perpetrators can be achieved through quality partnership and investigation by the police. She revealed that the Police have focused its attention in specialized prosecution led investigations as opposed to treating the cases as consent cases between recruitment agencies and trafficking victims.           

She says for cases going to court, the directorate prepares the victims for prosecution through disclosure to minimize harm during prosecutions in order to protect the best interests of the victims.      

  “The challenge is that the high-end traffickers are abroad using middlemen to engage in human trafficking. We, therefore, need mechanisms for bringing those high-end perpetrators to justice” she stated.  

The campaigners were speaking today at an event organized to commemorate the World Day against human trafficking celebrated every July 30th.     

Karamoja sub-region is one of the top internal human trafficking destination in Uganda. Every year, thousands of children are trafficked from the sub-region to the streets of Kampala to work as beggars, sex slaves and casual workers.    

Esther Divinia Anyakun, the Nakapiripirit Woman Member of Parliament says efforts by Kampala Capital City Authority to rid the streets of Karamoja trafficked Children have been frustrated by lack of rehabilitation centres in Karamoja sub-region.         

Anyakun says Kampigirisa rehabilitation has also not done enough to rehabilitate the children. She says externalization of labour to Middle East has failed because of lack of coordination between Uganda embassies in those countries and the recruiting companies.    

The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes says women constitute 49 percent of victims of human trafficking around the world. It says there are 21 percent male victims, 23 percent are girls while 7 percent are boys. 


     

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